Definition of exonerate in US English:



[with object]
  • 1(especially of an official body) absolve (someone) from blame for a fault or wrongdoing, especially after due consideration of the case.

    ‘they should exonerate these men from this crime’
    ‘the court-martial exonerated me’
    • ‘The affair has already tarnished this government and even if an investigation exonerates him the damage has already been done.’
    • ‘The world governing body know the UK authorities have exonerated the athlete.’
    • ‘In all three instances, Carroll's testimony exonerated him of any blame.’
    • ‘Greenberg was criticized, even ridiculed, but the next day the official scorers changed their ruling from error to triple, exonerating him.’
    • ‘He said the controller will be allowed to return to work if the inquiry exonerates him or he could be told to undergo re-training if it emerges his mistake prompted the incident.’
    • ‘Investigators relied on the recording in exonerating the soldiers who fired on the speeding vehicle.’
    • ‘After an investigation, the pilots were exonerated and the US military said they had come under fire.’
    • ‘Yet, when I was exonerated by a public inquiry, it was barely mentioned.’
    • ‘He is demanding that he be fully exonerated by the Royal Air Force of any blame for the fatal crashes.’
    • ‘The press was completely impervious to the presentation of evidence that might in any way be seen as exonerating the President.’
    • ‘‘I think the fact that he got tenure exonerates him,’ she said.’
    • ‘It was years later, in November 1972, according to records, that he was fully exonerated by a judge who said he had no case to answer.’
    • ‘A girl in his college was murdered, and he was totally exonerated from it.’
    • ‘He is particularly pleased the findings exonerated his men of blame.’
    • ‘He may have information which he believes exonerates his client.’
    • ‘He went to jail, to death row, and was 10 days away from the gas chamber before he was exonerated.’
    • ‘A report, to be published by the Department of Defence, will exonerate the men of wrongdoing and recommend that their efforts be officially recognised.’
    • ‘He is exonerated of all charges and joyfully returns to his cell, looking forward to the freedom to live out his days at La Coste with his cherished wife.’
    • ‘Two earlier hearings exonerated other officers involved in the attack.’
    • ‘They forget that the counsel law was originally set up to carry out investigations and it's just as successful in exonerating someone as it is in prosecuting them.’
    absolve, clear, acquit, declare innocent, find innocent, pronounce not guilty, discharge
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  • 2exonerate someone fromRelease someone from (a duty or obligation).

    • ‘When Communism grants men and women equal opportunity in work, it exonerates men from their responsibility to support women.’
    • ‘In fact, you could be the best minister in terms of performance, that doesn't exonerate you from being part of a team.’
    • ‘What can be known from the past as well as what will never be revealed does not exonerate us from inventing ourselves according to choices for which we alone must assume responsibility.’
    • ‘At least it exonerated them from their usual role in being unable to hold on to leads.’
    release, discharge, relieve, free, liberate
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Late Middle English: from Latin exonerat- ‘freed from a burden’, from the verb exonerare, from ex- ‘from’ + onus, oner- ‘a burden’.